Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Sense of Home

Having returned from seeing Europe, my wife and I have settled into life in our native state of Georgia. I have been surprised how strongly affected I am to be living here again. I am so proud of my new driver's license and tags that say I belong to Georgia.

Not long ago I wouldn't have cared in which state (or even which country) I resided. As any good liberal arts student, I believed it best to be a cosmopolitan world citizen. Even if I acted locally it should be due to thinking globally. Any real dedication to a particular place was embarrassing and likely evidence of closed-mindedness.

When I went to live for a summer in Haiti as a 21 year-old, I thought of myself going there not as an American, but just a man (as if there is such a thing as a pure person, without the complications and limitations of cultural grounding). Of course, Haitians being grounded people immediately recognized me as what I was. In fact, the more places I go and people of other cultures I meet the more I know myself as a product of my own place.

Now moving back to Georgia after living only a few years in Tennessee only a few hundred miles away, I find I have missed this place so deeply! I find comfort in the sound of the accents, the red clay and loblolly pines, even the sweltering humid days. It is not that this place is somehow better than others—it is that this place is mine. It is the place that produced me.

The transition to a globally interconnected world comes with many advantages, but human nature has it's limitations. We are designed to have some connection to our place. If we are not careful we could all end up “world citizens” who are lost and without a home.

1 comment:

Jasmin said...

Amen! I think losing our grounding and connection to place causes us to lose something of our history as well. Travel is awesome, but there's nothing like coming home to community where, "everybody knows your name."